Rehman Malik dedicates Senate speech to Benazir Bhutto

Islamabad: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Senator Rehman Malik said Friday that he dedicated his

Senate speech to his sister and great charismatic leader Benazir Bhutto on her birthday.

In his speech on budget in Senate of Pakistan, he said that he remembers how she suffered and sacrificed her

life for the great cause of democracy, wellbeing of the country and welfare of the voiceless segment of our

society. He said that she will always be remembered for her matchless services for Pakistan and its people and

her struggle against extremism and terrorism.

Senator Malik said that in the upper house, he represents the miseries feelings of the common man after

budget 2019-20. He said that he has gone through the contents of the budget very minutely but unfortunately

found nothing for the relief of a common man.

He stated that he can count hundreds of extra burden which are put on common man in this budget but he

challenges if the government can count the five reliefs for a common man, it has announced in this budget. He

said that his leader Asif Ali Zardari yesterday in his speech in National Assembly has presented a

comprehensive roadmap to overcome the ongoing economic crisis in the country suggesting that the

government and opposition should sit together to discuss issues affecting the economy and formulate a

common strategy with national consensus.

The PPP’ Senator Rehman Malik said that he has heard speeches of his fellow senators and all of them are

advising the Government to bring about the changes in the budgetary provisions adding that he appreciates

Mr. Asad Umer who has also advised his government to revisit the budget. He said that this budget will lead

the country to a state of ‘National Default” and absolute bankruptcy as the financial sovereignty has been

compromised at the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He pointed out that the target of the taxes has been set without having a knowledge and analysis of the ground

realities as the people are waling under price hike, unemployment and above all the lawlessness. Senator A.

Rehman Malik while rejecting the budget urged the government to revisit this anti-poor budget as it will force

the poor people of Pakistan to commit suicide adding this budget in fact will bring a tsunami of new taxes and

storm of inflation. He said that the GDP Annual Growth Rate is 3.3 and Government expects it to be 4.00

percent by the end of this quarter and is projected to trend around 4.50 percent in 2020. He added that the

economic parameters coupled with deficit, GDP and taxes will bring hike in prices because of inflation and

ever sliding Pakistani Rupees. He said “I, in this house had predicted that the rupees will fall to 160 against

one US Dollar if urgent measures haven’t been taken and today in this house once again I predict that it might

be devalued up to 170 or more”. He said that he as Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior

has taken up the matter in the month of December, 2018 regarding devaluation of Pak Rupee when it jumped

from 108 to 128 and then at the second time when it jumped to Rs.128 to 138, with a sudden depreciation of

Pak Rupees to 25 to 30%. He said that he had directed the FIA to investigate and submit a detailed report to the

Senate Standing Committee on Interior by 22 December as to how the Pakistani Rupees has taken such sharp

and sudden drop and he was glad to say that on the directions of the Committee FIA ceased 200 foreign


He said that the budget 2019-20 is tax-heavy budget but fails to address growing fiscal deficit as the tax

revenue for 2019-20 is estimated at Rs 5,822,160 million, which reflects an increase of 33% over revised

estimates 2018-19. He stated that the steps taken in this budget to broaden the tax net will actually directly

demoralize the business community and will stop them from further investment. He said that this budget is

based on money borrowed from IMF, banks and external and internal donors. Pakistan’s External Debt has

reached 105.8 USD bn in Mar 2019, compared with 99.1 USD bn in the previous quarter, he added.

He further said that the government introduced 11 taxable slabs at progressive tax rates from 5 per cent to 35

per cent for salaried people who are already paying taxes and this budget will further increase burden on

them. He added that the budget proves that this government has no roadmap and policy to provide any relief to

common Pakistani who is facing the brunt of a ballooning economic crisis.

He said that country is passing through state of war against terrorism and we need to empower our Law

Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) through modern equipment and better trainings but he was shocked to know

that budget for Ministry of Interior is cut and even sufficient funds have not been allocated for National

Action Plan (NAP). He questioned how government will fulfill its promise of constructing new schools,

colleges and universities when the budget for education is reduced by 25 percent and how will it make new

hospitals and will provide free health facilities when the budget for health is reduced by more than 20 percent.

Senator A. Rehman Malik concluded that budget will bring poverty and unemployment will further increase as

it will bring a tsunami of new taxes and storm of inflation. He said that it will be difficult for lower class to

sustain livelihood with continues increasing inflation rate.

He strongly criticized the ongoing selected accountability which he termed is aimed at political victimization

saying there should be no victimization in the name of accountability.